Checklist for the Responsible Breeder
A responsible breeder:

1. only sells puppies that were born on the premises (including, of course, their local veterinary clinic in case of cesarian cut), but NEVER sells pups that were "shipped in".

2. does not agree to sell puppies before the age of at least seven weeks, no matter how much you insist.

3. focuses as much on health and temperament as on confirmation to the standard when talking about the individual puppies and does not garantee you that "this one will be a champion, for sure".

4. is not reluctant to answer questions and even invites you to do so.

5. asks you a lot of questions about your lifestyle, family, former dog ownership or previous experience with dogs and other pets. They want to know the reason why you want a dog and why you want their breed, how much you know about the breed, in short, they make you feel they are cautious about whom they are selling their puppies to rather than pressuring you into buying, no matter what. They do not "advertise" the breed but honestly tell you about the defects and qualities of the breed and try to understand if their breed is right for you, and if not, may steer you in another direction. They never sell to "impulse" buyers.

6. will be available for advice and support for as long as you have the dog and insist on keeping contact with puppy buyers to collect information about health and structural development of their puppies.

7. is active in their dog breed's "community", either as a member of the local or national breed club, or has good relationships with other breeders or people involved in their breed, preferably also in other countries. Can also refer you to a good vet and trainer, if necessary. They are dedicated to the breed, always learning about the breed and almost always compete in some sort of activity with their dogs (confirmation, working activities, obedience, etc.) so as to have a realistic picture of how their dogs compare to others of the same breed. Therefore they can not be seriously "into" more than two different breeds.

8. breeds only dogs over 2 years old, with stable temperaments and a limited number of times. A dam should not have more than three litters and never two seasons in a row. Responsible breeders rarely repeat the same breeding.

9. correctly socializes the pups by systematically handling them and familiarizing them with various home noices, children, etc., but keeps them with their mom and litter mates for at least 7 weeks to ensure sibling socialization and correct imprinting. The dam and other dogs are friendly, healthy, socialized and groomed. If the dam is "locked up" because she is aggressive or shy, they never should have bred her in the first place.

10. is sufficiently concerned about the welfare of the dog to promise to take it back (no matter how old) if you can't keep it (this does not mean "refund" you, the purpose is to avoid shelter and ensure good placement). If a guarantee is involved, the breeder should let you choose between at least a partial refund OR another dog.

11. has information about health testing of most of the immediate relatives and is objective about the genetic health condition of all their dogs and does not claim that their lines are "entirely free of genetic health problems".

12. carefully considers each mating in terms of the long-term benefit for the breed and their breeding lines in terms of appearance, temperament, and health considerations, NOT their own short-term financial profit. This means they often keep at least one puppy in each litter for their breeding program (what was the purpose otherwise?) They only breed puppies they are sure to place (preferably works with waiting lists created before breeding even takes place). They do not use "brokers" to sell their puppies and do not hand over unsold puppies to pet stores.
We want to add some 'false positives' and 'false negatives' here, by which we mean either positive or negative criteria that are interpreted the other way around by uninformed buyers. This is the case either for claims by breeders as a proof of their being 'responsible breeders' while these claims are on the contrary to be considered negative points, OR actions by the breeder that are falsely interpreted as being 'suspicious' by the prospective buye. For example:

1. The breeder has both parents on site (=false positive)
Responsible breeders choose the best mate for their dogs based on criteria such as confirmation, temperament, ancestry, etc. It is therefore highly unlikely that they will find both the ideal dam and the ideal sir in their own kennel.  Usually breeders are ready to research and travel a long way to find the ideal mate for the dog they plan to breed. If both parents are on site, always ask why, there may be a good reason, but it is usually a bad sign, because it often means that the breeder settles for breedings that are cheap and convenient.

2. The breeder didn't let me in for a visit and seeing the dogs (= false negative)
Please understand that breeders have a routine they have to respect, feeding, grooming and cleaning times, etc.
Always make an appointment and never expect a breeder to let you in and show his house or kennel to visitors who drop by unexpectedly.

3. The breeder is very friendly, and lets me pick the "cutest" puppy of the litter (=false positive)
That the breeder seems very accomodating is not necessarily a good sign. A responsible breeder will test the pups to match their temperaments and drives with buyers' personalities and lifestyles instead of letting the buyer randomly pick a puppy, especially if the buyer's motivation is limited to physical criteria such as color, markings or size. However, this does not mean that the selection of a puppy from a litter should be an entirely rational decision. If, after several visits, the buyer seems to have a special, mutual 'bound' with one puppy in particular, there is no reason a breeder will oppose that 'love at first sight'.

4. This breeder runs his kennel as his only source of income, so he is only out for profit (=false negative)
Some people are lucky enough to earn their living with their passion, what's wrong about that ? If placed on a continuum, both extremes, either the occasional hobby breeder on the one end, and the big pet selling business (pet store, puppy mill) on the other, are to be avoided. In between, you find responsible breeders who breed as a hobby, but for whom this hobby takes a sufficiently important place in their lives in terms of time and effort to take it seriously. You also find professional breeders operating small structures with maximum two different breeds, where 'professional' stands for dedication, funds, planning, organization. Professional breeders have the structure, time and network to do correctly what many 'backyard breeders' or occasional hobby breeders are not able to do. A good breeding program needs good planning ability, a solid network, and financial sustainability (for example, being able to feed and care for the puppies for as long as they are not sold), and that's where the dedicated hobbyist and small-structure professional meet.
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Please note: This listing of breeders is for information purposes only.  Although we operate a selection based on our own criteria before inclusion on our links page this does not necessarily imply that we guarantee the quality of their puppies or endorse the breeders' practices. We recommend that prospective buyers visit several breeders  and investigate each breeder thoroughly before making their decision.
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